IFJ holds Iraqi government responsible for protection of trade union leader

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today backed its affiliate, the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate (IJS), and its call on the Iraqi government to protect Haidar Al Mansouri, Basra city IJS branch director, following several death threats he received last week. According to the IJS, journalist Haidar Al Mansouri and head of the IJS branch in Basra city, received a number of death threats last week, following the union’s support to Iraqi journalists covering the mass demonstrations that started in Iraq several weeks ago. The protests are calling for the elimination of corruption in the Iraqi political system and for providing citizens with necessary services. In their statement, the IJS urged the competent authorities “to take immediate action to stop the attacks and threats on public freedoms, press freedom and freedom of expression, and to protect the lives of journalists and media workers threatened with death”. The IFJ backs its member and also holds the Iraqi government responsible for providing protection to colleague al Mansouri and to all other Iraqi reporters. “Threats against journalists in Iraq are never to be taken lightly and many murdered journalists were threatened before they were killed,” said IFJ President, Jim Boumelha. “The Iraqi government should be capable of tracing the source of these threats and taking action. The IFJ and all its unions worldwide hold this government responsible for the safety of their colleague Haidar al Mansouri, and all other Iraqi journalists. It is inconceivable that journalists, their organisations and the media houses for which they work are largely left on their own in protecting themselves. The time has come for the government to put an end to the rampant violence against journalists and to turn the page on one of the worst records by a government to bring those who kill and threaten journalists to justice.” In addition to heading the IJS branch in Basra, Haidar Al-Mansouri is the IJS and IFJ’s professional safety trainer. He is responsible for training more than 150 journalists in Iraq since he completed the training of trainers’ safety course for journalists in 2011.

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